Saturday, August 24, 2019
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Sharyland-LogoDespite 345 students from outside the district transferring into Sharyland, the school district is still losing a large amount of students.

That’s according to a Student Transfers Report for the 2017-2018 school year provided by the TEA.

The report said that 345 students, most of them coming in from the McAllen and Mission school districts, transferred to Sharyland.

However, the report also said that 1,544 students transferred to schools outside the district, with almost half of them being claimed by Idea Public Schools.

The report was discussed at a workshop held Monday, Dec. 10, where the Sharyland School Board of trustees discussed a projected decrease in student enrollment for the next two school years.

Monday saw the board go over the district attendance projection for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years as part of a biennium report from the Texas Education Agency.

In the report, estimates of student average daily attendance are submitted to the TEA who then provides the report to the Texas Legislature so the legislature can determine the payments to be made to each school district for the next two years.

The district’s assistant superintendent for business and finance-Ismael Gonzalez-said that school districts receive $5,000 per student from the state. During his presentation to the board, he noted in a projections report created by the district that the student ADA has been fluctuating in the last few years.

The 2017-2018 saw an ADA of 9,676 students in the district, a number that the district expects will decrease in the next three years with an ADA of 9,664 for the current school year and projections of 9,611 and 9,515 for the 2019-2010 and 2020-2021 school years.

“This was a shock to all of us,” Gonzalez told the board. “Our classes at lower grade levels are smaller than the classes leaving at the higher grade levels, so we are not seeing an increase in student growth. We’re graduating more than we’re admitting into the district.”

Gonzalez noted that during the 2009-2010 school year, most of the grade levels had at least 700 students. In the current school year, most grade levels have a total of 500 students.

In the last year, the district implemented full-day Pre-K classes and started an open enrollment program to accept students from outside the district. Those changes, however, aren’t immediately helping the district.

“The growth is happening mainly in the junior high and high school levels, but we’re still seeing a decrease of students in Kindergarten through 4th grade levels,” Gonzalez said. “We’re not getting new younger students who will remain in the district for the full 12 years.”

In discussing the student transfers report, Gonzalez cautioned the board that the numbers of students being transferred out could be wildly inaccurate as TEA doesn’t fully enforce school districts and parents to report on their transferring reports. He estimates the numbers of students being transferred to be off by as much as 50 percent, Gonzalez said.

“But that’s still 750 students leaving the district, Gonzalez said. “We’re submitting public information requests with districts in the area to share with us the addresses of their students to see how many of their students reside in areas zoned in Sharyland to get a more accurate reading to continue to monitor this.”

At the workshop Monday, the board also discussed adding an $8,500 stipend to the high school athletic budget for an assistant athletic coordinator.

This position, District Human Resources Director Deborah Garza explained to the board, would assist with the overall athletic program but focus on girls athletics.

“This would be for a person who is already in the system as we are not planning on hiring or creating a new position,” Garza explained. “The idea is to promote from within without having to open for a job posting.”
The Assistant Athletic Coordinator would receive an $8,500 stipend, the second highest stipend amount in the high school athletic department, and have five additional days of duty.

Richard Thompson, Sharyland’s athletic director, told the board that adding an assistant athletic coordinator is something he’s been thinking of requesting since 2009.

“There just never seems to be the right time or urgency and I definitely don’t feel as if I’m in an urgency for it now,” Thompson said. “But this is something that could be beneficial concerning recruiting new students from the lower grade levels. I don’t think it’s urgent to have this but I am fine as long as it’s on the agenda so we can continue to discuss this.”

Thompson explained that ideally, the assistant athletic coordinator would visit elementary schools in the district to get students, specifically female students, interested in joining sports by the time they enter junior high school that would continue onto the high school level.

“I have not worked up the job description but I expect this coordinator to be the assistant to athletic coordinator on campus, especially during the fall in the middle of football season,” Thompson said. “But really this person would focus on promoting high school athletics at the lower level. We need someone excited for Diamondback and Rattler athletics.”

The board expressed an interest in discussing the assistant coordinator stipend in a future meeting.

“As someone who is into our girls athletics program, I like the idea of someone overseeing it,” School Board President Melissa Smith said. “We may not have 6th grade students competing in sports but to begin to groom them to get them ready for high school athletics could do a lot for our future athletes.”